The Third Sunday Of Advent 2019

We light this candle as a symbol of Christ our Joy.

May the joyful promise of your presence,

O God, make us rejoice in our hope of salvation.

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.

And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. Isaiah 35:10

On this third Sunday of Advent I would like to share with you a devotional reading from My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers

My Joy . . . Your Joy

These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. John 15:11

What was the joy that Jesus had? It is an insult to use the word happiness in connection with Jesus Christ. The joy of Jesus was the absolute self-surrender and self-sacrifice of Himself to His Father, the joy of doing that which the Father sent Him to do. “I delight to do Thy will.” Jesus prayed that our joy might go on fulfilling itself until it was the same joy as His. Have I allowed Jesus Christ to introduce His joy to me?

The full flood of my life is not in bodily health, not in external happenings, not in seeing God’s work succeed, but in the perfect understanding of God, and in the communion with Him that Jesus Himself had. The first thing that will hinder this joy is the captious irritation of thinking out circumstances. The cares of this world, said Jesus, will choke God’s word. Before we know where we are, we are caught up in the shows of things. All that God has done for us is the mere threshold; He wants to get us to the place where we will be His witnesses and proclaim Who Jesus is.

Be rightly related to God, find your joy there, and out of you will flow rivers of living water. Be a center for Jesus Christ to pour living water through. Stop being self-conscious, stop being a sanctified prig, and live the life hid with Christ. The life that is rightly related to God is as natural as breathing wherever it goes. The lives that have been of most blessing to you are those who were unconscious of it.

I agree with Mr. Chambers, our task is to be witnesses, to proclaim Christ to the world. How many people have you told about Jesus during these first three weeks of Advent?

There our people all around us who hunger for true joy and they are not finding it because they are looking in the wrong places. Joy isn’t found in the Christmas that is celebrated in most places because Christ is not to be found there. We live in a culture that is becoming openly hostile to Jesus but we must be bold in our proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ or so many will be lost to eternal damnation.

God sent Christ into the world to save the world.

All that was needed, Jesus did.

Salvation declined is like a gift never opened.

Have you opened your gift?

JOY TO THE WORLD! THE LORD IS COME:

LET EARTH RECEIVE HER KING;

LET EVERY HEART PREPARE HIM ROOM,

AND HEAVEN AND NATURE SING.

Second Sunday of Advent 2019

We light this candle as a symbol of Christ the Way.

May the Word sent from God through the prophets lead us to the way of salvation.

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.

And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:

And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of council and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;

And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:

But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.

And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.

The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.

And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den.

They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.

And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.

Isaiah 11:1-10

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

On this the second Sunday of Advent we remember that Jesus is the only way to restore our broken relationship with God. When Jesus spoke with his disciples in the upper room he said to them:

I am the way, the truth, and the life:

no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

John 14:6

The world will tell you there are many paths to God, but God’s Word – the Holy Bible – makes it plain. There is only one way and that way is Jesus Christ. He left his home in heaven to dwell among us here on earth. He died a cruel death, our death, in order that we might have eternal life with God in heaven.

As Oswald Chambers wrote in My Utmost For His Highest,

There is only one relationship that matters, and that is your personal relationship to a personal Redeemer and Lord.

Let everything else go, but maintain that at all costs, and God will fulfil His purpose through your life.

One individual life may be of priceless value to God‘s purposes, and yours may be that life.

First Sunday of Advent

We light this candle as a symbol of Christ our Hope.

May the light sent from God shine in the darkness to show us the way of salvation.

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.

And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

Romans 13:11-14

Today is the first Sunday of the Advent season. This is a reminder of the hope we have in Jesus Christ. Yes, we remember his birth, God incarnate, but even more so we should remember his promise to return in clouds of glory. He came first as a tiny babe. He lived a simple life. He died a horrible death. Three days later he walked out of the tomb and death was vanquished forever.

Salvation is only possible because of what Jesus did at Calvary. He paid our sin debt. We cannot earn our way. We cannot do enough or be good enough.

God provided the answer to our sin problem. He entered into our world as an infant. Jesus Christ, God made flesh, lived among His people. He experienced life as we know it with all the joy, and all the sorrow.

Only when we see our sin can we see our need for a Savior. The good news is that Jesus has paid the debt we owe. We have only to accept His sacrifice.

But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be, For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark. And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.

Matthew 24:36-44

The night is well spent.

The day is at hand.

Are you waiting in anticipation for the Lord’s return?

Is He your HOPE?

An Update To A Lesson In Trust

This is an update on a blog written over two years ago. Ms. Buttons went out with Ms. Pepper last night but never came back. Olin found her this morning on our country road. She had been hit by a vehicle.

She will be missed.

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.                           In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.             Proverbs 3:5-6

In this past week I have been reminded of the importance of trust. And it was a tiny bundle of fur (only 12 ounces) who brought the lesson home to me in a personal way.

We live on a farm and our barn cats are an important weapon in the battle against the field mice. Our feline population ebbs and flows with the seasons. Last winter we were down to only five but this summer we have experienced an increase with several litters of kittens. One little kitten went exploring and managed to fall down between the slats of the horse barn. She was there for several days before my husband was able to get her out by removing a portion of the wall. He brought her to the house where we began “operation rescue” with an eye dropper and Kitten milk replacer. One week later she has moved on to a tiny bottle and is thriving. She is determined to be friends with our black lab but Ms. Pepper is not about to have her personal space invaded.

IMG_7982

It amazes me that this tiny kitten has totally accepted the situation. She trusts me to feed her and care for her. What an example of faith.

Look at those eyes. She has accepted me as her caregiver and follows the sound of my voice.

And seek not ye what ye shall eat or drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.                                                                                                                                                                       Luke 12:29-32  

I have been reminded in this that my Father in heaven knows all of my needs and He will provide all that I need.        I can rest in the thought that He loves and cares for me. I need not be anxious for anything. My God is able!

Sunrise in Missouri

This is the day that the LORD has made.

Rejoice in it!

Today we return to standard time. From March until November many areas of the country turn their clocks ahead one hour. Daylight Saving Time they call it. As if we have any control over the daylight!

Here on Odessa Avenue the sun is nearing the horizon. I watch as the sky gradually grows lighter. Above the tree line the dawning of a new day colors the sky. It doesn’t matter what the clocks say – It is sunrise in northeast Missouri.

There are ducks on the pond in the pasture across the road. It is light enough now that I can see them. (Check out the bottom right corner of the pond.)

It is a beautiful fall morning. The thermometer reads thirty-five degrees. They say it will be in the fifties this afternoon. A good day to rake up a pile of leaves and jump into them. My jumping days are past but I do love to wade through a big pile just to hear the crackle.

Wait for it . . .

Wait for it . . .

Wait for it . . .

Well the sun came up and went behind the clouds. That is life.

We have no control over God’s creation.

Thank You LORD, for this new day!

The First Day Of Fall


I am so thankful that God has placed me in an area where I can enjoy the changing of the seasons.

Today is the first day of autumn. We had temperatures in the upper eighties and lower nineties in the first two weeks of September. Summer was hanging on but the rain came and the temperature dropped. This morning it was 58 degrees when I woke up. So not really cold enough for a roaring fire but candles gave me a warm feeling!

The summer garden is winding down. We still have lima beans, tomatoes and a couple of zuchinni to pick but the fall planting is also coming on. We are anticipating fresh spinach, carrots, radishes,beets and our sweet potato harvest.

This year Olin set up a small farm stand and it was surprisingly successful. We live on a gravel road with little traffic but our neighbors seemed to like the convenience of fresh vegetables in the area. With the arrival of fall the tent has come down and the table put away until next spring.

The pantry shelves display the bounty of summer!

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8

I feel as though I am in the “autumn” of my life. I find that my “want to” exceeds my “can do.” Often times I exhaust my energy before I reach the end of my list of chores. Our 50th wedding anniversary and my class reunion pictures remind me of how quickly the time passes.

I am thankful that I know that my “time” is in God’s hand. He knew me before I was born and had a plan for my life. I must admit that He has led me on a path I could never have imagined. I cannot wait to see what He has planned for my future!

O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me.

 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising,

Thou understandest my thought afar off.

Thou compassest my path and my lying down,

and art acquainted with all my ways.

 For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD,

Thou knowest it altogether.

Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid Thine hand upon me.

 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.

 Whither shall I go from Thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from Thy presence?

 If I ascend up into heaven, Thou art there:

if I make my bed in hell, behold, Thou art there.

If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;

 Even there shall Thy hand lead me, and Thy right hand shall hold me.

 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me;

even the night shall be light about me.

 Yea, the darkness hideth not from Thee; but the night shineth as the day:

the darkness and the light are both alike to Thee.

 For Thou hast possessed my reins:

Thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.

 I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made:

marvellous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

 My substance was not hid from Thee, when I was made in secret,

and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.

Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect;

and in Thy book all my members were written,

which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

 How precious also are Thy thoughts unto me, O God!

how great is the sum of them!

If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand:

when I awake, I am still with Thee.

Surely Thou wilt slay the wicked, O God:

depart from me therefore, ye bloody men.

For they speak against Thee wickedly,

and Thine enemies take Thy name in vain.

Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate Thee?

and am not I grieved with those that rise up against Thee?

I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:

And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 139
King James Version

The Saga Continues . . .

Monday night the trap was set . . .

The camera was in place . . .

There appeared to be quite a gathering. They must have heard about the free marshmallows!

The next morning we discovered the trap had been compromised so they ate the treats but we caught nothing. At least the chickens were still safe.

With the trap repaired we set it again last night.

SUCCESS!!!

But we know there are many more so the trap will be set again because . . .

Olin went to town and came home with three more chickens!

This is life in the country.

Chicken Tragedy

Last Monday we had a flock of seven – six hens and a Bantam rooster.

He is like Little Jimmy Dickens – he’s little but he’s loud!

He is master of his flock, taking very good care of his girls.

Until tragedy struck in the chicken house!

One morning Olin discovered that a raccoon had gotten into the chicken barn and killed two hens.

On Saturday when we returned from shopping he discovered two more hens killed.

And on Sunday morning there was another. ††

So we begin this week with just one hen and the little Bantam rooster.

Both very traumatized.

Something must be done.

A trap set with marshmallows.

The first day we caught a barn cat.

Now she is traumatized!

But finally – success . . .

He was not a happy camper.

He was transported to the pasture where there the sentence was to be carried out. Unfortunately the prisoner escaped and is expected to make another raid on the chicken house tonight. There the trap is once again baited with marshmallows and hopefully he will once again fall victim to temptation and take the bait!

TO BE CONTINUED . . .

My Forever Friend

It has been a year since Olin and I traveled to Sedalia, Missouri to honor a lady very dear to us.

I find myself thinking of her at the oddest moments. She holds a very special place in my heart.

Margaret Paul lived an amazing life. She loved people. Give her ten minutes in a room full of strangers and they would be strangers no longer. She would gather them around a table and start the conversation or maybe a game of Mexican Train!

I first met Ms. Margaret in the Cowgill’s Corner Homemakers Club. I was a young mother and she was an older lady. (When you are in your twenties everyone over thirty seems old.) She was full of stories and she could always make us laugh. In time I gave up the club and lost track of Ms. Margaret.

Almost thirty years later I became a pastor serving a three-point charge with the United Methodist Church and discovered Ms. Margaret in the congregation. She became a very special friend. I could trust Ms. Margaret to tell me the truth – even when I didn’t want to hear it. She kept me out of trouble by giving me a nudge when I needed one and by letting me know when I was headed down the wrong road. I was privileged to serve as her pastor for twelve years. But our relationship didn’t end when I left the pulpit.

In July 2011 we made our first trip to Missouri. Since Ms. Margaret had friends and family there we invited her to travel with us. The plan was to drop her off at her various destinations while we explored the area. That wasn’t Ms. Margaret’s plan.

Our first stop was at her daughter Jane’s to drop off her dog, Mica. Of course, we had to have a piece of Jane’s blackberry pie before we left. And then, since we were going right by their cabin at Deep Creek, they invited us to spend our first night there.

When we arrived in Columbia we met Margaret’s sister and her family. We were invited for dinner where we heard lots of stories about her life in Columbia.

After a few days it was on to Maryville, where we met more family. And more food. And more stories.

Our next stop was Sedalia and a visit to Pleasant Hill UMC. More friends, more food, and more stories!

After three weeks we headed east with Ms. Margaret riding “shotgun.” I knew that we had become family when Ms. Margaret and my husband had a “discussion” regarding fueling the vehicle. She noticed a lower price and suggested it would be good to top off the tank. My husband liked to wait until the tank was lower. When he finally stopped for fuel the price was higher than what Ms. Margaret had seen. She let him know that she wasn’t paying for the gas to which he replied that he hadn’t asked her to pay. I remarked that it was time to head for home!

After we made the move to Missouri Ms. Margaret came for several visits and we had such fun. She loved playing with Ms. Pepper and riding through the woods on the Gator. We could talk about anything and everything as we sat on the front porch snipping green beans or shelling lima beans. The almost thirty years between us didn’t matter. We are kindred spirits!

Rhonda Vincent wrote a song about a woman who loses her husband of sixty years. It is called “I Will See You Again.” When I hear the song I think of Ms. Margaret.

I Will See You Again

Rhonda Vincent

It was a gathering of some 300 people
In the little church the crowd began to swell
Quite a send off for a simple country farmer
For many loved and knew the old man well

And as his bride of 60 years came forward
She bravely walked to where his body lay
A hush fell over all that stood around her
She smiled through tears as she began to say

I will see you again
For this isn’t the end
You’re my forever friend
And I will see you again

Ever since a simple carpenter from Nazareth
Walked the mountains and the shores of Galilee
Ever since he died and rose again on Easter
Death doesn’t have the same old victory

Tonight I’ll lay my head upon his pillow
And cry until the breaking of the day
But even in the pain of separation
There’s a hope inside my heart that lets me say

I will see you again
For this isn’t the end
You’re my forever friend
And I will see you again

Jesus, He made a way
There is coming a day
So I will hold on ’til then
And I will see you again

I will hold on ’til then
And I will see you…again

Ms. Margaret is my “forever friend” and I am glad that I will see her again one day and we can spend eternity catching up.

Fifty Years Later!

June 14, 2019 – Today we mark fifty years in our life together. It has been an amazing journey!

I have always wanted to take a steamboat cruise down the Mississippi River. It seemed a nice way to celebrate 50 years of marriage.

That was the dream.

The reality is that we spent the morning scrubbing the yucky stuff off of the north side of our house!

But we worked together to get it done. Olin made me my own “bucket truck” by putting a pallet on the forks on the John Deere and attaching a galvanized tub for me to stand in as he lifted me up in the air. (I don’t think he trusted me to lift him up!) But in all fairness he did climb a ladder to join me on the roof of the back porch to help me scrub.

My Anniversary Present!

My husband is good at giving presents. He gives me things I want. This is the pump that I use to transfer water from our storage tanks to the tank in the garden. It was sitting on a pallet that I had to move every time I mowed the lawn. I did it but it took a lot of tugging and pulling every week. I mentioned to him the difficulty I was having and he made me this cart that i can wheel anywhere that i need it. I love it!

God has blessed us with amazing memories. Too many for me to recount on this blog so I’ll share some special memories over the past fifty years.